When is Hurricane Season in Costa Rica?

Hurricane Season in Costa Rica

With 40 trips around the sun, 20 were spent in Florida, which knows a thing or two about Hurricanes, and the other 20 spent in Costa Rica.  You might be surprised to know when hurricane season is in Costa Rica, practically never!

Having lived in Costa Rica for the previous 20 years, I have yet to see the residents on the Caribbean coast board up their houses in preparation for a hurricane. At the moment, Costa Rica is situated at a latitude that makes it very difficult for hurricanes to have a direct impact. Until now, the only slight impact we have seen in recent history is right at the border of Nicaragua.

Without getting excited about Costa Rica not getting hurricanes, which is undoubtedly a nice thing to have, it should be noted how difficult it is for Nicaragua to feel these storms’ impact. Costa Rica has a lot of the


What Do Hurricanes Need to Form?

For the most part, they always form between 20 and 30 degrees latitude in the tropical region. The season of hurricanes is from June 1st to November 30th, the warmest time of year for the water temperature in the latitude area of 20 to 30 degrees. Storms like warm water and most would think from 0 (the equator) to 20 degrees would be even warm water? This is true, but Hurricanes also like wind, and you don’t find the same wind around the equator you see in the 20-degree zone. These winds that the hurricanes feed off to form are called the Coriolis Force, which is much calmer in 0 to 20 degrees, making it harder for hurricanes to form.


Once they form, how do they move?

Once the recipe is right with warm water and a good set of Coriolis winds somewhere around the 20 to 30-degree area north of the equator, it’s time to start the hurricane’s engines and get on the move. There are two places a hurricane can decide to go, and this will depend on trade-winds. The trade-winds will take the hurricane west to Central America or north towards the US. Making everything from Nicaragua north a possible target of landfall for the hurricane.


So why don’t hurricane every drop slightly south and hit Costa Rica?

The reason is Costa Rica is 9.55 degrees above the equator at its highest point. Remember that the Coriolis Force, which is the main recipe for forming a hurricane, is best around 20 to 30 degrees. There have been some rare cases that it can develop around 10 degrees. If the hurricane dropped into the path of Costa Rica at 9.55, it would merely lose the essential ingredient of being a hurricane. For years, this has been like an iron curtain for Costa Rica, and at the present moment, it does not look like anything has changed.

To make things even more “not fair” for neighboring Nicaragua, while the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica does not get the hurricane, it experiences the exact opposite during the hurricane, just a few miles north. The Hurricane is powerful when it makes landfall in Nicaragua, sucking the atmosphere hundreds of miles from the storm’s edge, even over to the Pacific side. During this enormous effect of sucking everything, it finds in the atmosphere (in the atmosphere no actually land items; that would be an armageddon tornado)  into the giant cyclone of a hurricane. Almost all of the weather slams against the central mountain range of Costa Rica on the Pacific side.  This causes hefty rains on the Pacific and the sunniest blue skies in the Caribbean.

An odd phenomenon that occurs with all of this as if being in the latitude below 10 degrees wasn’t already a plus for the Costa Rica Caribbean; it also enjoys the central mountain range as another steel curtain to protect it from the weather getting sucked over from the Pacific.

If you wanted a more detailed explanation, look up Coriolis Force and understand the speed of the Earth’s rotation and how it changes at different latitudes. If you figure out a simple way to write it, let me know.

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